Physical Science Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

Chemistry Careers: Beyond Bunsen Burners offers the following information and advice on chemistry careers:

"Chemists are the unsung heroes in the sciences. Their work is often behind the scenes and not always understood by the general public. And the media doesn't help with its portrayals of 'mad' scientists destroying the earth, not to mention ‘Beaker,’ the Muppet who regularly blows up his lab.

Students who wish to succeed in chemistry should get as comprehensive an education as possible. Develop a strong base of knowledge of mathematics and the sciences (not just chemistry). Take courses in communications, the arts, literature, and other humanities. And perhaps most importantly, seek out experiences in the laboratory. Work closely with your professors and assist with their research projects when possible. Seek summer employment and internship opportunities which will expose you to chemists working in a variety of settings so you can decide where your interests lie.

About half of all chemists work in research, with about two-thirds of the bachelor's-level chemistry graduates working in the for-profit sector.

Chemistry majors also work in educational settings and in government. A small percentage are employed with nonprofit charities or research foundations. The unemployment rate among chemists is generally lower than the national average.

Those holding a bachelor's degree may manage research projects or laboratories. Teaching chemistry is also an option at a private school, or in a public school with certification. Sometimes, individuals with bachelor's degrees in chemistry seek a master's degree in another field, such as an M.B.A. to augment their career opportunities.

Master's degree chemists are eligible for higher-level positions in management or pure applied chemistry. Master's-level chemists are sometimes employed in entry-level teaching positions in colleges or universities.

Doctoral-level chemists can serve as primary researchers on grants, tenured professors at colleges, heads of divisions in corporations, and similar top-level positions."

Three other excellent sources of information on chemistry careers are:

American Chemical Society: Careers in Chemistry—Career Descriptions

What Are Some Careers in Chemistry? At About.com

University of Alabama Department of Chemistry - Careers in Chemistry: What can I do with my degree after I graduate?